Convenience store theft has dropped significantly over the last year from £44m to £35m, according to the latest Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) crime report.

The ACS Crime Survey has revealed that on average each store invested £1,708 in 2014 in crime prevention measurements such as CCTV, product tagging and anti-theft devices.

The survey also shows that the products which were being targeted were commonly higher value items such as alcohol, meat and cheese with soft drinks close behind. Retailers have also revealed that high margin products which can easily be resold are more commonly stolen.

The majority of thefts were not committed by opportunist or first time offenders, as 70% of offenders committed premeditated offences, either individually or as part of organised gangs.

The ACS has called for retailers to request more help from the police and justice system as figures released by the Ministry of Justice last year showed that almost half of all ‘on the spot’ fines issue to criminals were left unpaid.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We know from our survey that a significant proportion of criminals are stealing products from stores to fund other criminal activity. Shop theft is a gateway offence that can lead to much more serious crime, so it’s essential that these people are taken seriously by the justice system.”